Face the Facts – Episode 1: Facing Facts

Face the Facts

Welcome to Face the Facts, a blog dedicated to all things wonderful and irrelevant. We are all material girls living in a post-modern world, and the materially irrelevant is our eebowai. Hopefully this is the first of approximately 73 billion entries. Understand that this blog is written so that my mother would be able to appreciate it. So I’ll mainly focus on my favorite things. I’ll also be prone to going off tangents. A quick background on the name of this blog:

My wife thinks my youngest brother is a bit… ummm… slow (see: reh-tard). Well, more like an idiot savant, he is really really good at certain things like Call of Duty and basketball. So we were sitting around a table having dinner with some family and friends before my wedding and we were all teasing my youngest brother about his “slowness.” My cousin Albert said that my youngest brother was just going to have to “face the facts.” So what does it mean to face the facts? A world class musician played at L’Enfant plaza using a violin priced at 3.5 million dollars and went virtually unnoticed. My point? Sometimes we all need to slow down and face the facts. So boys, let’s get to it…

The NFL saves cost by making the refs use beepers
But what’s the real cost because the tickets don’t seem that much cheaper
Why are tickets so much when the refs are using beepers made by little slave kids? What are your over-heads?!

So I was watching the football game the other day with my flat-mate when we noticed the referees wore pagers. Seriously?! Is the NFL trying to cut cost by using 1980’s technology after they just negotiated to get 52% of the 8 billion dollar pie? Well no. A brief history lesson, the pager was introduced into the NFL back in 1986. These uber-high tech devices cost about seven grand a piece and were suppose to revolutionize the game. The pagers would buzz the ref whenever there was a need for review. However, due to the limitations to instant replay and multiple faulty pagers, the NFL ditched the pager in the early 90’s. This was subsequently replaced with a more cost effective and viscerally entertaining alternative; coaches throwing a red flag and yelling. Apparently the NFL wanted the best of both worlds and the pager is making a comeback.

Of course the fact that we are discussing NFL pagers means we have football, and this is #thingsthatareawesome. Everybody has a team they root for. I root for a state, and that state is Texas. I admit, rooting for Texas does divide up one’s interest. I might check out a Browns’ game to see if Colt McCoy is doing well. Mainly this means rooting for both the Cowboys and the Texans. Generally the Texans and Cowboys fans of this world are indifferent towards each other. However I have noticed fans of each respective team seem to really sell the other team short. Neither side believes the other team has what it takes to make the play offs.

Well I got news for you Han Solo, they are. The Cowboys o-line has looked solid so far in the pre-season and the Texans running game looks like it might shoot for 3,000 rushing yards this year. The Texans are getting back some solid defensive pieces from injury and have added Jonathon Joseph and Daniel Manning to beef up their secondary. The Cowboys finished strong last season under Garrett and are getting Tony Romo back. Haters need to face the facts, I predict a 10 and 6 finish minimum for both teams and a playoff berth.

This guy will be a monster this season

Is this the real world? Is it just Fantasy?

Accompanying football is the almost equally popular fantasy football. I am commissioner this year of the highly distinguished White Castle League, home of the Socrates Award for Excellence. I am also participating in another league, the only league in the world that implements standard NFL draft rules. Yeah, the same guy picks first every time. What’s more troubling is the commissioner of that league was “awarded” the first pick. This would matter except in this league’s settings Dexter McCluster is better than Andre Johnson. So a little word to the wise, when joining a new league, pay attention to the score settings before you draft, lest you make the mistake of drafting Johnson over McCluster.

Here is a little fantasy advice to you virtual pigskin fans that play in more traditional formats, with Manning looking to potentially miss some time, look to Delone Carter as a solid stash in the final rounds of the draft. The other two backs on the Colts have had issues being healthy and/or effective. At 225 lbs, Carter is a beast and could potentially put up RB3 to possibly RB2 numbers. Consider him a good gamble for the flex position late in the season and during bye weeks. Speaking of fantasy football, if you haven’t already, go watch The League. The soup is getting cold.

Grovertron 5000 vs. Pablo, the patently non-obvious, Tractor

My cell-phone died on my wedding day. Like it literally stopped working. As frustrating as that was, I feel it was providential in a couple of ways. First it dawned on me that my wife is not a cell phone, duh! Seriously, my wife would never die on me on our wedding day. Secondly, I could start researching a new phone. I do that for fun, even when it’s not for me. I am currently researching printers for my flat-mate’s wife. Those that know the situation understand the gravity of that proposition. Not because printers are important, but because she is freak’n Cthulhu.

This what she looks like with makeup…

For those of you that don’t know Cthulhu, she is an evil alien that was trapped in the ocean, subsequently broke free from R’lyeh, brought up to land a few reclusive minions, and is now living in my apartment. She is said to look like the vile off-spring of a red-neck and an octopus, though few dare to look directly at her, for doing so allows her to control one’s soul. My flat-mate did it on a dare, and now he exists for Cthulhu’s entertainment, completely subservient to his master.

Her “crack baby” voice is one of the most viscously cruel punishments to mankind. Her bellows echo along the walls with the intensity of the high pitch squeal of a dying pig. Her minions are dim-witted and barbaric, killing each other in savage ways. Worst yet, when one dies, Cthulhu simply replaces them at the local slave markets located inside the pet stores. To top it all off, Cthulhu is horrible at buying printers, using “cuteness” as a determining factor. What the mess?! Brother HL-4570CDW by the way. You are welcome.

Now, back to the good part… When looking at cell phones on the Verizon Wireless network, you are generally either looking at Apple or Android. I’ve never been a Blackberry fan, but news that they will be bringing on board the Android market with the new QNX phones is promising. Now Apple and Android both have their fair share of strengths and weaknesses. Apple has a sophisticated and vast marketplace eco-system. Android allows for a greater deal of customization. I currently have the original Droid. A man amongst boys in the Android market when it launched, it has served me well. However, like I mentioned before, it has moved on to the technological afterlife. So for anyone in the market like me, here is brief reference.

Let us start with Apple. The rumored Iphone 5 is set to be introduced in September with an October launch. The specs are anticipated to include the A5 chip found in the Ipad 2, an edge to edge 4 inch retinal display screen, an 8 mp camera, and iOS 5, all in a thinner lighter body. Those are things you come to expect from an Apple product. These specs won’t beat out the top Droid contenders coming out this fall on paper, but Apple has an “it just works approach.” Just look at how they have commanded the tablet market with strong contenders in the Tab and the Xoom. They basically forced HP to fire sale their touchpad line and get out of the business all together.

This is because it is all about the software for Apple. Steve Jobs once said that the software was the products “soul.” Apple’s embrace of this philosophy allows them to create top-notch swag. Apple products have become a status symbol and their logo is iconic. However I have a lot of Apple products. I have access to the great things Apple offers and I would like some diversity. Plus, I really don’t want to be that guy.

So what do you have on the Android side? Well let’s look at Motorola. Coming next month is Motorola Bionic, a phone that was shown at CES back in January and is just now, after much delay, making it to the shelves. Using a TI OMAP 1 gig dual core-processor, it will be the first dual-core LTE phone. Have you seen the commercial for this phone? The phone isn’t actually in the commercial, but if the commercial is based on truth, this phone will look like Scarlet Johnson with glowing red breasts. It will also chop other robot’s heads clear off. It will then go to D.C. and take back this country… BYARGH! What should be noted is that Google just bought Motorola’s mobile division. Is this a sign that Google is going to pull an Apple and streamline manufacturing the handsets directly in conjunction with the Android software? I’ll get to this later.

After Motorola is the quietly brilliant HTC. My wife has an HTC and it has fared much better than my Droid. HTC has launched many successful phones including the Incredible. HTC phones generally are rated very well and consumer response is very positive. The phone to look for here is the Vigor. The Thunderbolt’s big brother, it will purportedly pack a 1.5 gig processor and have a true 720p HD display. Of note here is that HTC recently acquired Beats and this phone will be the first certified Beats phone. Beats are an incredible product, not just that they made nice sounding cans, but they made headphones a fashion statement. I was walking out to the metro today and saw a girl jogging by wearing Beats. I mean I own beats, wouldn’t the band get sweaty? Isn’t it heavy? Beats may be the only overhead cans that people will exercise in. I’m not even upset, I’m impressed.

Another company is one that might just match Apple in terms of making good looking handsets, and that would be Samsung. Well known for their display technology, as seen with their TV’s, Samsung has the Galaxy S II that has been selling well around the world. With the 1.2 gig dual-core processor, 1 gb of RAM, and a stunning 4.3 inch display, this has been the top selling cell phone of the 2011. It is set to hold a Coming to America party at the end of August, and there is a Rumored September release of this phone in the US. A couple caveats, it won’t release on Verizon. Also Samsung is facing some legal problems themselves. A fierce patent battle brought on by Apple is damaging Samsung’s market share. Recent injunctions are blocking sales of Samsung’s Galaxy tablet in most of Europe. Apple is not just going for Samsung; Motorola and HTC are involved in this mess as well. Most revealing of Apple’s true intentions is the common denominator among these manufacturers, Google.

Google’s free Android software is already the world’s most-used mobile system. Its momentum could be hampered by successful patent infringement lawsuits against adopters like Samsung. At stake is the tablet market that Apple at the moment has a stranglehold on. Analysts are predicting tablets will eclipse the PC market. This is a market that Apple fears Google’s software could eventually take away, the way it did to smart phones, and this is exactly why Apple is taking the battle to the courtroom to defend their turf. Having to pay licensing fees to Apple would be a real stinger to Google. They do the entire heavy lifting, have others modify their work and make tons of money, and now they might have to pay Apple for that abuse of intellectual property.

Android’s major vulnerability has always been in the patent arena. Being a fairly new entrant in this market, Google hasn’t built up enough intellectual property in the way Apple or Microsoft has. Michael Gartenberg of Gartner says that “Google had been caught off guard in the patent battle, being historically and philosophically opposed to gathering them as a defensive or offensive move. That is changing with Google now in the hunt for key patents.” This has created an arms race of sorts between technology juggernauts. Apple has, along with Microsoft and Sony, recently bought 6,000 wireless patents from Nortel Networks for $4.5 billion. And guys, this has been done before.

Last year, Novell sold over 800 patents for $450 million to Microsoft. Novell was generally known for their network operating system, Netware, which they sold to businesses. They were continually beat out of the market by Microsoft. Of note are Novell’s collaborative efforts with Google on Google-Wave. Around the same time TomTom and Microsoft were in a patent lawsuit over TomTom’s Linux based GPS. As part of that settlement, Microsoft revived the GPL 2 license that Microsoft and Novell created when Novell sold its patents to Microsoft. Microsoft now directly licenses TomTom’s customers, rather than TomTom, to use the patents in TomTom’s Linux system. You now need to pay for a Microsoft license to deploy Open Source software. Is Apple similarly doing this to Google? Not if Google has something to say about it.

Remember earlier I mentioned that Google had purchased Motorola’s mobile division? They bought it for 12.5 billion dollars. Novell sold off its portfolio of 882 patents for $450 million to Microsoft. Simple math leads us to $510,204.08 per patent. Using the numbers supplied by Frost & Sullivan, Motorola had 24,500 patent and patent applications. What is 12.5 billion divided by 24,500? Yep, that would be $510,204.08 per patent. So while I would love to see Google use its new toy to create a powerful Motorola Nexus phone, the reality seems to suggest the Google is simply trying to bulk up for the show down in court with Apple. Speaking about the Nexus phone, that is last phone to keep an eye on this fall. Rumors have it hitting in October or November. It will be manufactured by Samsung and have a large 4.5 inch display. Other than that, not much is known at this time other than that it will be the first device with Ice cream sandwich. So these are the four phones I am looking at this fall.

You say goodbye, and I say hello

I was going perusing down the streets of Clutchfans,  and found this little nugget. The Hangover borrowed a lot from the Simpsons episode Viva Ned Flanders. The episode had a tiger, a hooker, and the Mike Tyson-like character! Anyways, until next time, remember, when in doubt, face the facts.


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